This month 21 men and women celebrated the completion of life-changing vocational learning experiences in museums and galleries throughout Scotland. Included was Thomas Gourlay who undertook his placement at the Scottish Fisheries Museum.
The Skills for Success vocational training programme was created by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) to open access to museum jobs. It has given paid, work-based experience and a recognised qualification to non-graduates from diverse backgrounds. The programme was made possible by a grant of £535,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Skills for Success is part of MGS’s ongoing work to diversify Scotland’s museum workforce. To make the opportunities accessible MGS worked with a wide range of partners including Capability Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland to turn traditional recruitment processes on their head, recruiting based on personal qualities rather than qualifications or how financially able applicants have been to do unpaid work experience. In April, MGS picked up a Creative and Cultural Skills award for the innovative recruitment process.
Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland, said:
“Skills for Success has encouraged us to examine and challenge the link between the existing entry routes to museum jobs and the lack of diversity within the workforce. We are proud that this programme will have a positive impact on the future careers of our learners and while also helping to address the culture that can bring about inequality in the first place.
Congratulations to all our Skills for Success learners who have worked so hard and contributed so much in the last year. I wish them the very best for their future careers. I also have great admiration for the host museums who responded whole-heartedly to our invitation to play an active role in bringing positive change within our sector.”
Caroline Clark, Director of Scotland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“This is a wonderful example of how, thanks to National Lottery players, we can support people in gaining important vocational skills, setting them up for a career in the cultural sector. The innovative way MGS and its partners, such as Capability Scotland and LGBT+ Youth Scotland, worked together to recruit enthusiastic learners and support them through their life-changing skills training in museums across the country should be applauded.”
Some of the Skills for Success learners have already secured jobs in the heritage sector and others hope to continue to work in the sector, however the skills gained are transferrable and will support them on any career path.
The learners celebrated the end of the Skills for Success placements at an event at St Cecelia’s Hall and Musical Instruments Museum in Edinburgh attended by Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop.
MGS is planning next steps in continuing the legacy of Skills for Success and will involve museums in the development of this important area of work. In the meantime, we at the Scottish Fisheries Museum would like to congratulate Thomas on his achievement, thank him for all his hard work over the past year and wish him and his fellow trainees every success for the future.